Jazz Related Blues

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The blues have had a strong influence on jazz since the very beginning. Likewise, when you listen to a guitarist like Robben Ford effortlessly blend the two genres it becomes hard to tell where one genre ends and other starts.

The Jazz Related Blues genre at JMA is for those blues artists who also play jazz, as well as important blues artists who had an impact on the world of jazz.

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Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm

JIMMY SMITH Bashin' The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith Album Cover Bashin' The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith
JIMMY SMITH
4.98 | 3 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Jimmy And Wes:The Dynamic Duo Album Cover Jimmy And Wes:The Dynamic Duo
JIMMY SMITH
4.74 | 6 ratings
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DINAH WASHINGTON Dinah Jams Album Cover Dinah Jams
DINAH WASHINGTON
4.95 | 2 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH The Cat Album Cover The Cat
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4.71 | 5 ratings
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JIMMY SMITH Back at the Chicken Shack Album Cover Back at the Chicken Shack
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4.64 | 9 ratings
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KENNY BURRELL Midnight Blue Album Cover Midnight Blue
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4.63 | 8 ratings
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DUKE ROBILLARD Guitar Groove-A-Rama Album Cover Guitar Groove-A-Rama
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DUKE ROBILLARD Blue Mood - The Songs Of T-Bone Walker Album Cover Blue Mood - The Songs Of T-Bone Walker
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DUKE ROBILLARD Stretchin' Out (Live) Album Cover Stretchin' Out (Live)
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AMOS GARRETT Get Way Back (A Tribute to Percy Mayfield) Album Cover Get Way Back (A Tribute to Percy Mayfield)
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AMOS GARRETT I Make My Home in My Shoes Album Cover I Make My Home in My Shoes
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AMOS GARRETT Acoustic Album Album Cover Acoustic Album
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jazz related blues Music Reviews

YUSEF LATEEF The Blue Yusef Lateef

Album · 1968 · Jazz Related Blues
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Sean Trane
Yusef’s generally most acknowledged second half of the 60’s album, The Blue Yusef, indeed the album has some credential at being among his better works in a very prolific career, though some jazz purists would probably beg to differ. As you’ll guess by the title, the album features much blues, a good deal of it being 12 bars, and a rarer 16 bars one, which sounds more mysterious. This could Ysef’s first album for Ahmet Ertegun’s Attlantic label (coming after from his impulse period), as well.

Opening on the bluesy Juba, Yusef brings immediate depth by mixing harmonica (courtesy of Buddy Lucas) and highly evocative from The Sweet Inspirations. The following 8-mins Like It Is has a highly haunting melody, first opening on an enchanted flute, then segueing in a delightful sax, then the underlying Lawson piano unleashes and a string quartet concludes in a masterful way. The exotic sounding (I’d say far-east, mixed with south-eastern Asia roots) Moon Cup is based on Phrygian scales, and it’s probably the least accessible track on the album. Othelia is a rather standard boogie blues with little interest, unlike the train-like rhythms of Back Home, where the harmonica returns, along some demented sax and percussions. Get Over and the rest of the flipside are different versions of blues. Not really YL’s most representative album, but the first and third tracks are among my faves of his.

"BROTHER" JACK MCDUFF The Honeydripper

Album · 1961 · Jazz Related Blues
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js
“The Honeydripper” was Jack McDuff’s third album and found him moving away from his hard bop beginnings and towards the new soul jazz sound, the end result is five tracks of pure blues (plus one Mancini classic) played by four guys with jazz chops. Jimmy Forrest is on tenor and provides an old school big sound rooted in the blues and early swing. Grant Green is making his debut recording on this one and easily holds his own against the others. All of the tunes are good, but collectors of lounge classics will want to take notice of McDuff’s cover of Mancini’s “Mr Lucky”. Brother Jack approaches this one with all the stops out for that classic full organ sound and extra swanky lounge groove. Other highlights on here include the up-tempo boppish “Whap!”, and “I want a Little Girl”, which is played with that odd sound that is created when only the high drawbars on the B3 are pulled out.

There’s not a lot to say about this one, fans of B3 jazz will know what to expect. “The Honeydripper” compares favorably to other records like it, and fortunately does not have any of the corny tracks that sometimes mar other organ soul jazz records. As a point of reference and comparison, during this same time period, Jimmy Smith's music and organ sound were a little more dry and less gospel sounding than McDuff's, and Smith's structures were more open with longer songs featuring long relaxed solos. Partly because of Forrest, McDuff’s music draws a little more from older swing and jump blues.

JIMMY SMITH Jimmy Smith's Greatest Hits

Boxset / Compilation · 1969 · Jazz Related Blues
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js
With so many Jimmy Smith compilations out there, on vinyl and CD, its hard to tell which might be the best one to go for. If you are looking at your vinyl options, then “Jimmy Smith’s Greatest Hits” (BST 89901) on Blue Note might be the best way to go. All of the tunes on here were recorded between 1957 and 1963, which many consider to be the peak of Smith’s studio recording career. During this time with Blue Note, Smith developed his signature style of virtuoso hard bop riffs played over simple blues changes. Later in his career, on other labels, Smith would veer off into soul jazz, pop, disco and other commercial concerns, but his recordings with Blue Note were always pure jazz blues, some of the most unpretentious and satisfying music you will find. Jimmy’s pioneering work on the B3 is so strong that it went on to influence thousands from Joey DeFrancesco to Jon Lord.

The choice of tunes on here is quite good and some all time favorites can be found including “The Serman” and “Midnight Special”. Other top cuts include the high speed bop dexterity of “The Champ” and the rockin old school RnB of “Prayer Meetin”. There are no duds on here. Blue Note issued another double vinyl Jimmy Smith best of in the mid-70s, but the choice of tunes is better on this earlier compilation, and the sound quality is better too.

WORLD SAXOPHONE QUARTET Breath of Life

Album · 1994 · Jazz Related Blues
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js
Sometime along about the late 70s and early 80s a number of jazz musicians began to shake off the shackles of commercially driven fusion and fuzak and began to rediscover the joy of playing “real jazz”, as in a group of horn players jamming to a syncopated drum beat. Ironically, many of the musicians driving this return to the roots were leaders of the 60s free jazz avant-garde. Musicians like David Murray and Oliver Lake began playing anything from jump blues to New Orleans jazz, but not in a corny Dixieland revival way, their music still maintained the tough gritty edge of the 60s avant-garde and more integrity than granite quarry. It is during this movement that Murray and Lake started the World Saxophone Quartet. By the time 1994 rolled around and they released “Breath of Life”, the quartet also featured Hamiet Bluiett and Arthur Blythe.

“Breath of Life” finds our quartet of saxophone virtuosos being joined by a rhythm section and a vocalist for a set of rockin Chicago blues and blues related grooves. This is a great CD and the band “breathes new life” into a musical form that is often overused and played out. A real star here is B3 soloist Amina Claudine Myers and her classic 60s soul jazz organ solos. Also, vocalist Fontella Bass does a great job with songs like “Suffering with the Blues”. Its tiresome to hear a singer go through the motions with an unconvincing blues performance, but Fontella’s sorrow over a love ruined is real and might get you thinking a bit.

The quartet does offer some variety on here, on “Picasso” they play (sans the rhythm section) an artsy semi avant-garde mix of composition and improvisation, and on “Breath of Life” they back up Fontella’s vocals with an earthy reggae groove. Another highlight is the loungey space groove of album closer “Deb” which features a great baritone solo from Bluiett.

FRANKIE LAINE Frankie Laine And The Four Lads

Album · 1956 · Jazz Related Blues
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Matt
You can't say Frankie Laine did not have the training to do a Gospel album, after all he had been an altar boy at his local Parish in Chicago and in early January 1953 recorded his smash hit "I Believe" with all it's Gospel connontations and around that same time all this was happening for Frankie a new vocal group had started called The Four Lads, who Mitch Miller, Frankie Laine's friend as well as being the main man at Columbia records had seen at a club and decided to use them with the vocalist Johnny Ray on his hits, "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried" in 1953 and they recorded them for nothing but not really, as they did score a one year contract for their effort from Mitch. The Four Lads comprised of Connie Cordarini (bass), Bernie Toorish (tenor), Jimmy Arnold (lead ) and Frank Busseri (baritone) and spirituals, folk and pop were all included in their repertoire of songs but at this time we are still very early days in their careers as they would still be performing and recording into the 1970's. "Frankie Laine And The Four Lads" was recorded over three sessions with the first two in June 1954 on the 26th and 27th with another session recorded on October the 27th in 1955. One interesting point is Albert Lerner is on piano for all the sessions but the line-up does change quite a bit for the last one with Edwin LeMar "Buddy" Cole replaced by Richard Hyman on organ and Vincent Terri on guitar is replaced by none other than the old twanger Al Caiola but Al would have been quite early in his career at this point with both the bass player and drummer replaced as well in that last session with this personnel comprising a quintet in number for the band which gives the vocals absolute front and centre as any good spiritual music should contain. Yes, it was back to basics for the albums construction which is one of the joys within, due to this small line-up as anything more would simply have swamped the album draining all that freshness which all the vocalists bring to every song with Old Leather Lungs himself, superbly right out front.

There is a real mix of tempos used throughout the album with usually a fairly up-tempo number followed by the slower one which brings great continual variety to the album with many being on the joyous side with "Juba-Juba-Jubalee" with it's organ introduction and Frankie Laine singing the title in repitition and before you know it we are in full gospel mode with The Four Lads singing right in between Frankie on this joyous up-tempo number. The organ is used as the main section within the bands music throughout putting us right into the church pew and the following number being a slow spiritual with a spoken prayer from Frankie within and here one hears why he was named leather lungs with the notes that Frankie hits with his beautiful and powerful voice. You need to be on your feet and clapping along with "What Would I Do Without The Lord" followed by another of the those slow beautiful numbers with Frankie stretching his lungs in "Let Me Be Ready, Lord" concerning ones death and after you will be ready for that "chariot to take you to those heavenly lands" with this rendition from Frankie and The Four Lads. One of the standouts for me from that last session is "Didn't He Moan" with it's blues/gospel influence and it is simply superb. The album's songs on the flip that deserve a mention are "Rain, Rain, Rain" which was the albums single and hit and listen to Frankie and those Lads swap the vocals around throughout the tune with both taking lead and singing backing in turns. "God's Gonna Take The Saints To Heaven" has us in a lifeboat with the saints, all the way to heaven, followed by the swing and joy of "Wa-Hoo". The next, "Aint It A Pity And A Shame" is one of it's own within the album with The Four Lads singing just halo primarily with electrifying effect right behind Frankie Laine's lead vocal. The album closes with "I Heard The Angels Singing" where one should stand, clap and sing along with this great romper of a spiritual.

Fabulous distinct album within Frankie Laine's discography where he shows us that he can sing anything with anybody. Frankie Laine was a devout Catholic all his life and this religious influenced material was a joy for him to perform and one can hear that clearly within these songs all beautifully sung in conjunction with The Four Lads. Another note on Frankie's versatilatity is three days before that last session for this album in October 1955 he recorded another last album session for his classic "Jazz Spectacular" with Buck Clayton.

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